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Grateful Dead Live at Meadowlands Arena on 1989-10-16

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Grateful Dead Live at Meadowlands Arena on 1989-10-16

Topics Live concert

This show has been commercially released as Nightfall of Diamonds

Picasso Moon, Mississippi Half Step, Feel Like A Stranger, Good Time Blues, Built To Last, Memphis Blues, Let It Grow, Deal Dark Star-> Playin' In The Band-> Uncle John's Band-> Playin' In The Band Jam-> Drums-> Jam-> I Will Take You Home-> I Need A Miracle-> Dark Star*-> Attics Of My Life-> Playin' In The Band, E: We Bid You Good Night

Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Venue Meadowlands Arena
Location East Rutherford, NJ

Source Soundboard
Lineage DSBD > DAT > WAV > CD-R > SHN
Transferred by Dave Barrick


source update: DSBD> DAT> WAV> CD-R; via Dave Barrick; 5/00- there may be another version around, possibly reextraction of this- at least 1 track matches the md5 shown here, another track doesn't; listener Jeff Davis reports errors: "some dropouts during the beginning of D1T1, and a dropout around 3:40 of "Space" on Disc 3"; see pub comments for tracking; Update: whole show now released as Nightfall of Diamonds- go buy it


Reviewer: Mind Wondrin - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 3, 2016
Subject: For those that missed Hampton, kept hearing about it, went to Meadowlands, & got Hampton II

The news that Dark Star had been played at Hampton caused fervor at the time. It also leads some to believe, today, that if it's in the set list, the whole show is accordingly the best-ever; those four connoted notes. Adding to the weight of this show, it was given official release outside of the Dick's Picks series. Regardless, it IS an above-average show (albeit not an '89 top five) and the best of this 5-day run, even if it isn't the one with the most-stellar moments - except for those four notes. If that's what yr after, cool, then it's a great show. The second set has the new-ness song list but the first set has much better playing. It's a bit short for end-of-run (1:06 & 1:17). Meadowlands (which has a 2017 demolition date) saw 16 shows - not counting the 14 across the street in Giants stadium - with '89 being the final one and the longest run (the others were two-day stands). Oct '89 was a fun month to be a Deadhead and tape trader (even if the best '89 shows were the Alpine run), with the 2nd Shoreline run, the Hampton/Warlocks shows, this show, the Spectrum show, Charlotte, and Miami (with the weird dark show and wild Dark Star jams). I recall the excitement and the healthy scene.

First Set. The 4th-ever Picasso Moon is nailed, and because it was arranged with such clunky transitions it rarely got better than this. I saw the first two or three plus many bad ones, and the dump into the chorus almost always stumbled with half the band adding a beat and the rest stripping the upbeat. Here you can tell that if the rhythm section's in the pocket it sails past. Bobby had songs that Jer couldn't necessarily get a piece of, but he quickly found some terrain herein which allows Brent to shoulder from underneath. Also, Jer uses some sort of cool-sounding Slow Attack/Pre-Echo Delay (that's challenging to tighten). Half-Step is strong and eschews the vocal coda for going into a Stranger that itself has a laid-back, lets-throw-this-out-there perfection. Brent has the middle of both sets and renders a strong Never Trust a Woman. Built to Last is less so but they were just starting to get somewhere when they dropped it (a few months later). Memphis Blues Again could lay flat or soar; here they're really riding it, rocking. After a weird tuning jam Let it Grow builds the whole set to a closing explosion of x-factor...then dissolves with a neat segue into a bonus Deal that has Bobby inspired with fills.

Second Set. Starting with a Dawk Staw really enthuses the crowd (hey, I remember my first one, too). The second of the "return era", the previous post-hiatus ones were 10/9/89, 7/13/84 & 12/31/81. It was great, at the time, that it was back (and not a one-off), but there's a bit of a let's-get-it-out-of-the-way vibe compared to the week before, and better ones were soon to come. It has it's own reprise (not a true sandwich) and sets up for a smoker Playin'. Unfortunately, the Uncle John's meat tries hard to trainwreck. When Jer flubs the 2nd verse Bobby loudly sings over the top to cue him for the goddamn-well-I-declare bridge. Then it's Bobby's turn when he mistakes the-same-story-the-crow-told-me for I-live-in-a-silver-mine. But they get it together for an 18 minute jam. Drums>Space is unusually uninspiring and bland for '89 but (as doug the dude contends) it was ballsy for Brent to take everybody into Take You Home. You get the feeling that he was pouring himself into the music, pleading for catharsis, letting it all out through the song, emoting his pathos in a compensatory concession to therapy. Or maybe hindsight lends clarity but, regardless, he's flying without a net and whether this shoe-horns is probably based on your reaction to the song in general and not the sincerity of the moment. The rest is average for '89 and, in keeping with the Hampton Part Deux theme, there's an Attics - for which you really had to be there.

1st Set:  B+
2nd Set: C
Overall = 3½ Stars

Picasso Moon - not sure if there's a better version. There probably is.
Feel Like a Stranger - casual aplomb makes it motor stainlessly
Let it Grow>Deal - all cylinders on, a great segue, Bobby searching for slots
Playin' - the excitement of the era's 2nd Dark Star is funneled into the fire

11th 1½ stars [D+, D]
12th 1¼ stars [D-, D+]
13th Letterman
14th 2 stars   [C+, D]
15th 3 stars   [C+, B-]

SOURCES: On Nightfall of Diamonds, which has a super-produced sound, Phil's too light in the mix and the energy is a bit flattened. The excellent hansokolow matrix has that energy, and the Barrick SBD sounds as good or better than NoD to me. The show is often on YouTube, and during the run Weir and Garcia were on Letterman.
Reviewer: a-flip - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 16, 2014
Subject: YES!
Yes, this is music for cruising in the Falcon....My favorite show! check the FOB Aud!...welp, gotta go and turn into Capt. Solo for about an hour and 15....whoa...
Reviewer: bryogi - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 16, 2012
Subject: Gives me Chills
23 years ago today...pure magic. Thanks for all the great reviews from folks who were there. God, this band is incredible. This is one of those shows I have listened to so many times and never cease to be amazed. I swear the jams are designed for interstellar space travel. Wormhole locations, navigational coordinates, asteroid field evasion, it's all here. I swear it's gonna come in handy in our ascension process some day.
Reviewer: peasant - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 14, 2012
Subject: Wow
Much has already been said in other places about the last great stretch in the band's history (spring 89 to Brent's death). The atmosphere this night was electric to say the least. I was in the taper's pit recording. The level of anticipation was positively giddy. Everyone in the house knew what was coming in the 2nd set. When those opening notes rang out and the place erupted, all of us in the tapers' pit silently smiled, nodded, gave silent high 5s, even gentle, brotherly hugs.

I don't care what any purists want to say about Dark Stars after '74 (or 72 or 69 or whatever). It was a special moment never to be forgotten
Reviewer: CT Deadhead - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 16, 2010
Subject: My first Dark Star
At this point in my life I had seen 70 or 80 shows maybe, and Dark Star was one of the legendary songs only the old deadheads from the 60's and early 70's could talk about. But '89 was the year the Dead brought it back. Jerry was interviewed on 102.7 WNEW that afternoon and said there was a good chance they would play it tonight. I was on pins and needles all evening while enjoying a great show. The place when nuts when Phil hit those first few notes and the boys did not take a break for the entire second set, the music literally did not stop until the end of the 2nd set. Great show and worth purchasing "Nightfall of Diamonds".
Reviewer: pghas - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 9, 2010
Subject: Best I ever saw
Not even close. Was lucky enough to be on the floor right in front of the board. When the first set opened Picasso>HalfStep>Stranger (and it's a smoker of a Stranger) and closed with Let It Grow>Deal I thought I was witnessing greatness, and then came that second set, which was just one giant jam. This show was why you tried to make sure you didn't miss any shows.
Reviewer: Dylan M - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 24, 2009
Subject: A show of discovery and a new face
This show will always be overshadowed by 1989.10.09 because it was the "first" Dark Star (of 85-89, of course) and the first reprise of playin' sandwiching UJB. The jams might be longer that night, but there is something about this show that just wreaks of discovery.

This tour was special for the boys, Brent was as comfortable as he would ever get with the band, and this fall tour and the following spring tour would show some of his most colorful work.

Just as inspiration works like a spreading force, the band was "feelin'" each other during this time. The two reprises of playin' is a treat, as is the Attics and Bid You Goodnight (all re-introduced this tour) The Dark Star is the first since Hampton and was greeted with just as much excitement. The first set has a interesting song mix, with an unfinished Half-Step sandwiched between an unusual Picasso Moon opener and a Stranger.

To me, the band is displaying the same sort of creative experimentation as in 1970, meshing their old set list ideas with newer arrangements to help further the jam. Sure they're not quite as young and not introducing as many songs, but this Built to Last material combined with the fall and spring 89'-90 tour WAS a peak of creativity. If Brent hadn't od-ed, this would have continued. So its best to just appreciate shows like these to prove as a counter-example for anyone that says 80s dead is burnt out or inspirationless. Good night with new ideas for Jerry and the Boys.
Reviewer: cannon1iron - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 16, 2008
Subject: Best show for me
I have to chime in on this show. It was the Best show I saw. We were all hoping for the Dark Star. When those first few notes were played we lost our sh.. The energy the band brought to the stage that night I never felt before or after. 9 years of dead shows and this was the peak. Happy Birthday Bobby!!!
Reviewer: deadhead7824 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 27, 2006
oh yes..... what an amazing show by the boys here. chills still run though me every time i hear them go into dark star. it's almost as if they get right to where they're gunna do it...the crowd gets excited, and then u think close... i thought i almost heard- OH MY GOD!!! its dark star. you go wild. u and the rest of the crowd just know what they're witnessing here in 1989. it's the reason you went to dead shows, just hopeing, just wishing, that maybe...just this once they'd travel back and do it they way that go them there. and they do.

me n bobby both have a pretty damn amazing birthday show if 'ya ask me.

grateful birth 8}
Reviewer: lobster12 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 17, 2005
Subject: crazy show
based on "Nightfall of Diamonds". One of the reasons why I liked the dead when they were "on" was unpredictability, even if they botched some things. 3 true show openers to start the gig, Half step not fully developed and a rare(for this time period) Let it grow>deal. set 2 has Playing in the band all over it and of course dark star. Oh how I wished the boys would have thrown more curve balls like this in the 92-95 era.
Reviewer: rick e. - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 7, 2005
Subject: great show !
great show ,crappy place to see the dead.I like this sbd better than the nightfall of diamonds cd.I have a hard time getting used to the sound quality of the vault releases from this period.they sound almost too clean.I guess I got used to the raw sbd or audience recording sound.I thought the vocals sounded better on the audience tapes. They make some mistakes here and there ,but that is nothing new and they were never noted for their flawlessness.The second set jams here are well crafted and IMO pure GD.
Reviewer: dmilks - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 6, 2005
Subject: 10/16/89
To previous reviewer, this show is not Hampton #2, it is indeed 10-16-89, Bob Weir's 42nd B-day.
Reviewer: steveCA - favoritefavoritefavorite - September 8, 2005
Subject: DSBD?
what's with the muffled sound?
this show is HAMPTON #2
Reviewer: Trannyman - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 29, 2005
Subject: Compact show
Compared to Hampton, these versions are alot less meaty. Still, the second set is a little gem that makes alot of musical sense. I like the mid-set Attics, which wasn't done much. A short Dark Star compared to Hampton and Miami, but nicely played...without the nuclear meltdowns of the others.
Reviewer: rick e. - favoritefavoritefavorite - July 17, 2005
Subject: great show !
great show ,crappy place to see the dead.i had an audience of this at one point ,and to me it captured the magic better than nightfall of diamonds or the board tapes i've heard.hopefully someone will upload the aud recording,as i highly recommend both.jerry takes us across the rio with just his guitar and he makes up for what he doesn't sing with his guitar.dark star is great ,but i had a hard time getting used to all the midi sounds they were using at the time.
Reviewer: rick e. - favoritefavoritefavorite - July 17, 2005
Subject: great show !
great show ,crappy place to see the dead.i had an audience of this at one point ,and to me it captured the magic better than nightfall of diamonds or the board tapes i've heard.hopefully someone will upload the aud recording,as i highly recommend both.jerry takes us across the rio with just his guitar and he makes up for what he doesn't sing with his guitar.dark star is great ,but i had a hard time getting used to all the midi sounds they were using at the time.
Reviewer: rick e. - favoritefavoritefavorite - July 17, 2005
Subject: great show !
great show ,crappy place to see the dead.i had an audience of this at one point ,and to me it captured the magic better than nightfall of diamonds or the board tapes i've heard.hopefully someone will upload the aud recording,as i highly recommend both.jerry takes us across the rio with just his guitar and he makes up for what he doesn't sing with his guitar.dark star is great ,but i had a hard time getting used to all the midi sounds they were using at the time.
Reviewer: BluesUS - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 3, 2005
Subject: Great Sound
I've listened to a lot of the shows archived here and this has great sound, and a great set of songs.
Reviewer: MarkStar - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 3, 2005
Subject: Huh?
Why is this show still up? It's been released..."Nightfall of Diamonds"
Reviewer: dire--wolf - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 11, 2005
Subject: must have been something in the water.
beautiful show. no "across the rio grande o" bobby was wearing a pink polo golf shirt and new nikes. a gift from mom. bobby's birthday show. this is also a gd release, nightfall of diamonds. highly recomend the download.
Reviewer: phil r monic - favoritefavoritefavorite - May 25, 2005
Subject: Huh?
So, uh, why were the metal bands of the time worried about this tape?
Reviewer: Mergz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 9, 2005
Subject: My first show...
so it's only upon listening back that I continue to kick myself in the head for wishing to have been more aware of what was going on.
Reviewer: Tito&Smokey - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 20, 2005
Subject: Killer show
attics>playin reprise is the highlight
Reviewer: factman - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 4, 2005
Subject: same correction, earlier show
Adam Katz was killed on 10-14-89, not this night. Meadowlands security, not state troopers. Beaten to death and placed under overpass, not thrown. Someone was in fact a badass, they didn't have to think so, because no convictions were made.
I wouldn't try to further sell the Help> Slip sign story, given the swiss cheese-sized holes throughout the rest of your take on the events.
Certainly not a moment to make light of.
Possibly the most essential show of Fall '89.
Reviewer: RONZNOIZE - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 27, 2004
Subject: Ten Sixteen Eightynine Baby!!!
probably the best show ever (my favorite anyway)sick jamming in the second set (did they even stop once between songs?)the guys are playing like it's christmas and they just unwrapped their midi equippement. i used to have a crusty old worn out tape of the 2nd set and i would drive my woman nuts because it was so warped and krinkled.when the outside plastic part of the
tape would break i would take apart another tape and transfer the tape to the cassette.
you could hear brent's keys a little clearer in the dub i had.
you should really buy the discs of this show already released by the g.d. to fully apreciate this show without cuts and tapeflips or pops & farts.
this is also the night a fan nammed adam katz was in town to see the show and met up with some state troopers who thought they were bad asses and beat him to death and then heaved him off the overpass.adam was holding a sign that said HELP->SLIP->FRANK in big letters.
it's said that the state troopers were later joking about how they'ed HELPED FRANK SLIP
Reviewer: borndead - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 23, 2004
Subject: Just listen,change the water,buy a new lighter!!!!!!!
This is the tape that hair metal bands of the time were worried about.The boys played no song in the second set older than 1971[except Miracle mid '70s,IWTYH '89]This tape had to make Mr.Weir proud that the band didnt forget his present.When Bobby wants to listen to a show I bet this is what he puts in.Fall '89 like fine wine.6 stars
Reviewer: Cortez - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 11, 2004
Subject: Blazing Show
One of the best of the 80's for sure. From the opening medley to the closing Let it Grow>Deal, the 1st set is very strong.

2nd set is of course mind-melting. Maybe its me, but post-space they seem to get a little worn/tired. Perhaps it was blowing so many minds at the show. Anyway, I prefer this show to 10/09/89 only because the 1st set is so tight and well jammed.

Go buy Nightfall of Diamonds if you haven't already.
Reviewer: sid weiss - favorite - September 18, 2004
Subject: horrible sound
sound quality here is bad
Reviewer: oscar - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 14, 2004
Subject: i missed the first set
but i made it there for the onethat really counted! state troopers let us go when they shouldnt have, but there was full moon and the boys ripped open the closet that night, i still get chills from the opening darkstar licks
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